Nearly everyone enjoys providing positive feedback, and it is a power tool for continuous improvement. While providing not-so-positive feedback isn’t much fun, remember that when provided properly it is a valuable coaching resource. The purpose of feedback is to help the receiver, not to embarrass him or her or to make judgments. So be kind. Examples: “I’m concerned about you meeting your deadlines because you’ve been late three times this week. Is everything okay?” or “I felt uncomfortable when you lost your temper with our client. How are you feeling about what happened and what do you think we should do next?”
Notice that in the examples above you didn’t see harsh judgments, personal attacks or labeling, such as: “You always miss your deadlines; you procrastinate too much.” or “You’re a loose cannon and you’ve cost us that account.” If the person’s inappropriate behavior did, in fact, cost the organization an account, disciplinary action might be necessary. When coaching, however, remember to state the facts without intentionally embarrassing the person, don’t belittle or use “labels” and give the person an opportunity to do their own self-evaluation. People typically know exactly what they need to improve upon. Be caring, not callous.